The Marx Brothers always seemed cartoonish. Small wonder that film animators plucked their personas from their first appearances in The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930) and caricatured them in countless animated appearances in theatrical cartoons. Their animated likenesses have since been wisecracking in television cartoons, direct-to-video movies, fan films, commercials, flip books, avatars, emoji, a slot machine, and two TV pilots so rare they were once thought not to exist.
At last, Marx Brothers fans can rejoice. Matthew Hahn's search for every animated appearance of a Marx brother has trailed longer than Groucho's coattails. His discoveries include the backstories of the studios, moviemakers, and stars; rare test drawings from the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery, abandoned projects, connections, coincidences, and apocrypha.
Through the reels of Silly Symphonies, Looney Tunes, and Merrie Melodies, to their comic clashes with Heckle & Jeckle, Oswald Rabbit, Krazy Kat, Pooch the Pup, Buddy, Cubby, Willie Whopper, Flip the Frog, and Popeye, journey back through the most detailed analyses ever compiled of animated Marx Brothers appearances. The author also draws from appearances in You Bet Your Life (1950), Quick Draw McGraw (1959), The Simpsons (1989), Tiny Toon Adventures (1990), and Animaniacs (1993), among many others.
Featured contributions include Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks, Walter Lantz, Rudold Ising, Hugh Harman, Shamus Culhane, Joe Grant, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, T. Hee, Robert McKimson, Bob Godfrey, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Michael Maltese, Daws Butler, Dayton Allen; Pat Harrington, Jr.; Frank Welker, Frank Ferrante, Dan Castellanata, Laurel & Hardy, Joe E. Brown, Greta Garbo, Frank Nelson, and Jerry Colonna.
Illustrated. Foreword by Joe Adamson, an authority on The Marx Brothers and animation. Epilogue contains a never-before-published Groucho anecdote. Index. Bibliography.
Matthew Hahn grew up in Bucks County, PA, home of The Freedonia Gazette, The Magazine Devoted to The Marx Brothers. It was at that publication's Open House over thirty years ago that he first saw The Marx Brothers in animated form, leading to an interest in that subject that has culminated in his book The Animated Marx Brothers.
He holds a BA in Theatre & Speech from DeSales University in Center Valley, PA, and an MFA in Acting/Directing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is an award-winning animated filmmaker, a published cartoonist, and a pioneering Maryland craft brewer.
With his wife, Cheri, he endowed Freedonia/Marxonia, an annual Marx Brothers festival held at the State University of New York-Fredonia.
A life-long rescuer of animals, he lives with his wife and two Tonkinese cats, Thelma Todd and ZaSu Pitts, in a suburb of Washington, DC.
"A treasure trove for Marxists of all stripes"
- Joe Adamson, from the Foreword
"Talk about a specialized topic: Hahn provides an annotated guide to every animated cartoon that includes caricatures of Groucho, Harpo, Chico and even Zeppo, from Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons of the 1930s to Vlasek Pickle commercials right up to the creation of modern-day emojis. The well-chosen illustrations serve as a visual guide to the way these legendary comedians have been pictured over the years."
-Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian
"Just when I thought I knew everything about The Marx Brothers, Hahn's book is a complete and detailed guide to the rare and unexplored world of Marx animation. From famous Warner Bros. shorts to TV commercials, theatrical releases, print ads, promos, and unreleased gems and on and on, this is the first companion that perfectly lays out every aspect of anything ever drawn of The Marx Brothers. Concise and nicely written, it made me want to search high and low for these amazing treasures."
- Mike Rowe, actor, comedian, and Emmy Award-winning writer/producer
"Just as animated Marx Brothers extends beyond their films, the importance of this book extends beyond just a study of the Marx Brothers. This reference is also a fascinating presentation of how animation itself has evolved from the silent movie era into the internet age. It is filled with interesting details on so many aspects within those parameters, that such a book must be recommended for any library or research center, as well as fans of The Marx Brothers, animation, art, filmmaking, and humor."
-James L. Neibauer, author and film historian
"The Marx Brothers arguably generated more laughter than any other comedy team. And Mr. Hahn's wonderful book is a potent reminder of their pop culture influence. Mickey Mouse and Popeye donned Groucho's greasepaint. Bugs Bunny was inspired by the Marx spirit. The Marx presence in animation perpetuates their legacy as does this brilliant contribution."
- Frank Ferrante, Groucho Marx portrayer
"Matthew Hahn has written an authoritative guide to the appearances of our Brothers' likenesses in animated cartoons, from the dawn of the motion picture age to today. . . I can assure you that this deserves a place on your Marxian bookshelf. Includes a beautifully-written foreword by Joe Adamson himself!"
- Noah Diamond, author, Gimme a Thrill: The Story of I'll Say She Is, The Lost Marx Brothers Musical and How It Was Found
"Hahn’s book is a remarkable reference for “Marxists” in particular, but also for anyone interested in film and cartoon history. Most of all, he has added a welcome chapter to our understanding of how celebrity caricature illuminated America’s life and times during the Depression’s darkest hours."
-Amy Henderson, Artes Magazine
"Hahn gives us a wide, wacky pastiche of Marxtoons."
-Barbara Hall, Providence Journal
"The Animated Marx Brothers is a great idea for a book, especially for those of us who grew up seeking out these special cartoons. In his excellent introduction Joe Adamson points out the fact that the brothers didn't make a lot of films, so any scraps of Marx we could find was gold. Matthew's research is spot on, and the history of the players from the animation world is very interesting. I recommend the book highly to Marx fans everywhere!"
- Nick Santa Maria, actor
""This . . . beautifully crafted . . . Incredible book . . . documenting where the Marx Brothers’ influence appears in the animated world is a treasure for those of us who miss their comic brilliance."
- Aviva Kempner, director, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
"Hahn has done a seemingly thorough job in tracking down Marxian references in animated films, from the well-known to the exceedingly obscure (and it is always possible more will turn up). He includes visual representation of the brothers as well as depictions which use established characters to emulate the brothers in dress or action. Not only does he discuss Chico showing up in Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle, but he also includes Robin Williams’s Genie doing a Groucho impersonation in Disney’s Aladdin. Occasionally, Hahn includes bits of trivia about the films and shows he discusses and he often attempts to identify the actors who provide voices for the various brothers, including, with a strange frequency, Harpo."
- Steven H. Silver, SFSite.com
All of the movies mentioned in the book that are legally posted on the web are on here. Watch while you read!
Saturday June 2, 2018, 12:30-2:00 PM: Matthew Hahn will do a reading from The Animated Marx Brothers as part of The Spark! at BookCon, Jacob Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street, NYC 10001. Admission to BookCon is $35 for the day.
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